Black History Month: Individuals who have impacted our lives

This Black History Month, the PROMISE team pays tribute to the people who have made a big impact in our lives.  Because of them, we can…

“Somewhere along the way I picked up that same spirit of serving, and it’s become a passion of mine to serve others.”


My tribute begins with being raised by a single mom in one of the housing projects in Memphis, Tennessee. I was taught to serve at an early age. My mom coached a softball team comprised of girls from our housing development. She worked a full time job, and after work she would attend practice, transport to games, as well as provide life lessons. She would also purchase softball equipment while providing meals for a family of four on a warehouse salary. Also, my mom saved enough money for a down payment on a home for us.

After moving from the housing development, my mom taught bible study and passed out school supplies to the children in our new neighborhood. Mom would volunteer at church and later in life, volunteer to teach bible study to senior citizens a local community center.

Somewhere along the way I picked up that same spirit of serving and it’s become a passion of mine to serve others.

This Black History month I would like to celebrate and say thank you to my mom.


“Sojourner’s braveness  and courage encourages me to continue to fight for what i believe in.”



Sojourner Truth was an African-American abolitionist and women’s rights activist. Truth was born into slavery in Swartekill, Ulster County, New York, but escaped with her infant daughter to freedom in 1826. Sojourner continued speaking nationally and helped slaves escape to freedom.

When the Civil War started, Truth urged young men to join the Union cause and organized supplies for black troopsr Truth became an outspoken advocate for abolition, temperance, and civil and women’s rights in the nineteenth century. Her Civil War work earned her an invitation to meet President Abraham Lincoln in 1864.


“Through her voice, I learned that if you give up, you will never know what you can accomplish. If you stop where you are, you will never see your full potential.”

Many historical African-American individuals are significant in shaping the culture and way of life for others in our community. Despite the odds that were pressed against them and the many that did not support them; they continued to fight for the justice and freedom of all African Americans in this country. Although there were so many men and women who were influential in the movement towards progressing African Americans in the community, I find myself being drawn towards one woman in particular. She has overcome many obstacles in her life that constructed the way she viewed the world.

Because of the things that she went through, she later changed her name and used her pain as her voice. She wrote many poems, she was a civil rights activist, and she was a philosopher to many women in this society. Through her voice, I learned that if you give up, you will never know what you can accomplish. If you stop where you are, you will never see your full potential. Life will throw rocks at you. It is at this moment that choices begin. You can either let the rocks bury you, or you can pick them up and throw them back. When things got hard, she stood. She turned her story into a message that could save people from their darkness. She was strong. She was courageous. She was a “phenomenal woman, made phenomenally”. She is Maya Angelou.


“As a young man, I respect my mother for molding her children to become God-fearing men and exhibit outstanding character.”

In life you have many people who influence you — some are good and some are bad influences. The one person who influenced my life the most would have to be my mother. She has sacrificed a lot in her life to create a better path for her children. She was very successful in sending three of four of her young men to college and supported them tremendously throughout their journeys until they obtained their respectful degrees.

My mother gave us a few words of motivation while we were embarking on our journeys which were, “The energy you give the world is the energy you receive” and “Don’t compare your life to others and don’t judge them because you have no idea what their journey is all about.” The impact that my mother has on my life humbles me to acknowledge where I came from and take a piece of my roots with me in every step of life.

As a young man, I respect my mother for molding her children to become God-fearing men and exhibit outstanding character. I dedicate the month of February to my mother, Ms. Patricia A. Mitchell, for the outstanding achievement for creating, teaching, and guiding young black men to seek their own success.


“Thinking all of his positive legacies, I will say that I am very proud to be his daughter.”

Everyone has someone who encouraged or taught them something that will carry them throughout life. For me, this person has inspired me very much in many ways. First and foremost, he taught me about hard work, and he enlightens others to be their better selves. Born in a poor family, he was abandoned by his father, who never thought that his presence would matter.

At a young age, he learned that the only way to get out of poverty is to have an education and work. With his perseverance, he was able to grow his own company without the help of anyone. Looking back upon his life experience, it motivated me to always do my best. Despite his firmness, he is actually very kind. To tell the truth, sometimes we can get into a lot of arguments.

However, it doesn’t mean that those disagreements are not constructive. What I admire the most from him is his honesty, rationalism., and gentleness. I have learned so much from his precious life values. Indeed, these values are not ephemeral to me. They linger deep in my heart and soul. Thinking all of his positive legacies, I will say that I am very proud to be his daughter.


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I get a lot of my ambitions in life from Michelle Obama. She carries herself well inside and outside the public eye. She inspires a lot of women. I have always wanted to make a difference within my community and encourage other young women to reach their goals in life. It does not matter what neighborhood you are from, we can all make our dream a reality.


“If you wake up deciding what you want to give versus what you’re going to get, you become a more successful person.”

– Russell Simmons

This quote has been such a life changer for me. I know we want much out of life for ourselves and our families. Yet this quote taught me that when you become a person that is willing to want more for others than yourself, you’re never at a loss. I appreciate my career that allows me to wake up everyday with a heart to give the best customer service, housing, and hope for my tenants. When I see that I have truly given my best for my tenants, and it makes a difference in their life, it makes the highs and the lows of a day’s work well worth it.


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“A young black man can’t understand what it means to have something he’s never been denied.”

– Benjamin L. Hooks

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Benjamin Hooks was born in Memphis, Tennessee, growing up on South Lauderdale and Vance. With such a great family legacy, young Benjamin was inspired to work hard on his academic career, with hopes of being able to make it to college. In his youth, he felt a calling to the Christian ministry. His father, however, did not approve and discouraged Benjamin from such a calling. Benjamin was a member of the Omega Psi Phi fraternity. Hooks enrolled in LeMoyne-Owen College in Memphis, Tennessee.

Hooks feels that the perilous times of the civil rights movement should never be taken for granted, especially by those who were born in the aftermath of the movement’s gains.